Campfire-friendly cooking: Cowboy Stew and No-bake Cookies

OAG Editor Sarah Stirling whips up two of her favourite outdoor cooking recipes, thoroughly taste-tested by Robert Partridge (who had to be rolled into a tent afterwards)

There’s little we love more after a long day of hiking, climbing or paddling than the roar of our trusty gas stove or campfire getting to work (ok, the soft ‘clop-fzzzz’ of a nice cold beer or campsite cocktail might be better…), especially when those delicious smells start wafting through camp on the summer air.

This cowboy stew is an easy, warming camp staple that you can throw together from whatever you have in the fridge and the cupboard before heading out in the wild, followed by a quick and easy pudding (which you can also eat for breakfast, if there’s any left!). You can cook these recipes on either a camp stove or in a Dutch oven.

Campfire Cowboy Stew Recipe – serves 4

A camping favourite amongst grown ups and kids alike. You can usually avoid the supermarket and throw this together from whatever you have in the fridge and the cupboard. It’s also a great way to use up leftovers; you don’t need Jamie Oliver skills; you don’t have to juggle different pans on the stove; and it’s hearty, tasty and warming. Best made in a Dutch oven for even cooking, but a regular camping stove will also work.


  • 1 onion (garlic as an optional extra)
  • Splash of oil
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1-2 tins kidney or butter beans
  • Potatoes (parboil at home to speed cooking time, if preferred)
  • 500g of mince (chicken, sausages or a can or two of beans works just as well).
  • Whatever veg you have in your fridge (or tinned veg).
  • Optional extras: bay leaf, mixed herbs, worcestershire sauce, Cheddar cheese to serve.

You will need:

  • Dutch oven and charcoal or camping stove and saucepan
  • Knife and chopping board (or pre-chop at home)
  • Wooden spoon


  1. Chop all veg (or chop at home and bring in tupperware)
  2. Brown the meat in a little oil, along with onion and garlic and any firmer veg
  3. Add any other fresh veg and fry for a few minutes.
  4. Add everything else apart from the cheese.
  5. Simmer for as long as you can wait!
  6. Add cheese!

No-bake Cookies Recipe – serves 4 (depending on greed!)

When you’re stuffed with stew, it can be hard to muster the energy for baking. We sympathise. These cookies can be made in minutes, then left to cool while you digest and stargaze. And if you’re too full to eat all of them, they make a brilliant breakfast! Ok, a little sugary, but regular rules don’t apply when you’re camping. Besides, living outdoors burns more calories… Or something.


Combine these at home and put into a ziplock bag:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Vanilla extract

Do the same with these, in a separate bag:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup peanut butter

You will need:

  • Dutch oven and charcoal or camping stove and saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Greaseproof paper.


  1. Pour the ingredients from the first bag into a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil
  2. Stir for one minute over the heat – timing is key to success here!
  3. Add the contents of the second bag (oats and peanut butter) and quickly stir to combine, then remove from heat
  4. Drop spoonfuls onto the greaseproof paper.
  5. Leave to cool for as long as you can wait (they should be reasonably firm after ~20 minutes!


Recipe and photos by Sarah Stirling